National Geographic : 1961 May
EKTACHROMESBY LIFE PHOTOGRAPHERRALPH MORSE FOR NASA Practice dunking trains astronauts for a watery escape from Project Mercury's man in-space capsule. Here, in the Gulf of Mexico, Astronaut Virgil I. Grissom floats on a rubber raft as he might do after a rocket voyage through space. Within a year the Na tional Aeronautics and Space Administration hopes to put a man into orbit. miles high, put him into flight bullet, and some 16 minutes lat into the ocean several hundred the Atlantic Missile Range froi naveral, Florida.* Not too many months later, al Aeronautics and Space Ad (NASA) expects several astronaut the mighty Atlas missiles which their Mercury spacecraft into around earth. Each man will ma contribution to the conquest of s I shall never make that trip in realm of space, but I know in degree how these men will feel. died in the tiny cockpit of thei The Author: Science has fascinated senior staff member Kenneth F. Weav school days, when he turned his attic istry and physics laboratory. For the he has reported on radio-carbon da 1958) and 17-year locusts (July, 1953). articles will discuss radio astronomy modern and ancient Athens. 704 like a rifle er drop him miles down m Cape Ca the Nation- and handled the unfamiliar controls. I have ridden their strange training devices, and through a periscope watched the earth as it would appear a hundred miles away. Lack of Oxygen Starves Brain ministration I have entered an altitude chamber and its to mount "climbed" to the threshold no man crosses i can thrust alive without a pressure suit. I have removed swift orbit my oxygen mask briefly in rarefied atmos ,ke a valiant phere and felt my brain go sodden for lack pace. of the breath of life. to the black I have watched the astronauts at work and some small play, and my experience has given me an im I have hud- mense respect for their devotion and skill. r spacecraft Not only are they prepared to make whatever sacrifice may be required to accomplish their mission, but in addition they accept as daily GEOGRAPHIC routine a hundred little tortures and discom er since high- forts that would drive an ordinary man out into a chem- of his wits. GEOGRAPHICof his wits. GEOGRAPHIC, ting (August, At the George C. Marshall Space Flight Forthcoming Forthcoming *See "Exploring Tomorrow With the Space Agency," and contrast July, 1960; and "Cape Canaveral's 6,000-mile Shooting Gallery," October, 1959, both by Allan C. Fisher, Jr.